Updated: Feb 19, 2019
Right half way between Zagreb and Rijeka lies Vrbovsko, the second biggest town of Gorski Kotar, the Croatian highland region. It is a picturesque place built in two parts: lower one is separated from the upper part of the town by 450 metres!
First records of Vrbovsko date back to 1481 and show it as one of the oldest inhabited places of Gorski Kotar. Originally this region belonged to the Frankopan nobles; however, due to the Turkish invasions in the 16th century, Vrbovsko became a part of Vojna Krajina, a cordon sanitaire used to protect Europe from the Ottoman attacks.
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Its unique transit position was of decisive importance for Vrbovsko all through its history, and the same role the new motorway which bring Vrbovsko even closer to the big cities. The inhabitants of Vrbovsko have always been engaged in tourism. This area has always attracted numerous visitors - tourism as a trade appeared in Vrbovsko records in the 18th and 19th century, along with the construction of the first road and railroad connections.
The very first services were provided to caravans travelling along the newly built roads. The circle of visitors widened and the services expanded from hospitality to commercial tourism. Taverns and inns appeared, and part of the inhabitants got engaged in tourism professionally. In 1900, hotel "Croatia" was built, featuring 25 single rooms, a restaurant, parlour, a hall for cultural manifestations and a bowling alley. This was not only the first hotel in the highlands but also the biggest hotel between the cities of Zagreb and Rijeka. The area is still full of possibilities and should be a basis for a renewal of tourism in Vrbovsko itself.
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Families from the Croatian Littoral, Istria and Lika, as well as inhabitants of other Austro-Hungarian provinces, arrived in Vrbovsko. The Czech immigrants prevailed not only in number but also as those who brought religious and secular culture to Vrbovsko; therefore, the ancient parish church of 1755/1756 was also dedicated to a Czech saint, Ivan Nepomuk; Maria Therese donated a bell to the newly established church. In 1895, the old crumbling church was torn down and replaced with the new one, still present today. It is a large building with a cross-shaped ground plan and a polygonal sanctuary; the bell-tower was added to the northern church wall. The church was built in a historical neo-gothic style and is named the „Gorski Kotar Cathedral “.
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A special emphasis is given to Kamačnik. It is a protected scenery with exceptional beauty and a walking trail that leads you through 3 km of this crystal clean river. A true paradise for walkers, entertainment and recreation! A walking trail, wooden bridges and galleries were made in 1961. A famous Croatian mountaineer and writer Željko Poljak in his book "Croatian mountains" describes Kamačnik as a "gorge filled with wild romance". Kamačnik cut its gorge into the Velika Kapela massive. It cascades down the river Dobra since it was at its entrance turned into a lake by a dam. The Kamačnik spring is of typical karst type - the water appears from the underground caves.
And if you still don't know what to do in Vrbovsko, check it with the Tourist Board that will provide you with any information about the town and its surroundings:
Tourist Board Vrbovsko
Ivana Gorana Kovačića 44, Vrbovsko
tel/fax +385 (51) 875 984